Complications With Forceps

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Forceps have been a common tool for assisting medical professionals as they deliver children for a long time. One of the most basic tools available in modern medicine to help with the delivery of an infant, forceps are widely used and often necessary. However, these instruments can prove destructive if not handled properly, injuring infants in the hands of untrained or careless doctors. Some of the consequences of poor forceps performance can have permanent affects on a newborn child.

One common result of poor forceps use is the development of a bruise on the infant's head. Known as a cephalohematoma, these injuries consist of a pool of blood found under the infant's skin, above the skull. Although usually harmless, a cephalohematoma can sometimes develop into a serious medical concern. Linked to anemia, hypotension, and jaundice, these injuries should be treated promptly by a medical staff. Additionally, the pool of blood can become infected, leading to meningitis.

In addition to these serious bruises, improper use of forceps can contribute to skull fractures. Unlike adult skulls, the skull of an infant is relatively soft and susceptible to injury. If a physician does not take this into consideration and roughly delivers a child, the pressure of the instruments can cause the vulnerable infant's skull to fracture.

If a physician grabs a child by the face when extracting them with forceps, it can result in damage to the infant's face. With such relatively soft tissue and little protection, the injury can cause facial nerve damage. Although this usually resolves itself, some cases of nerve damage can be so severe as to follow that infant into childhood and further development. Long term nerve damage may either require surgery or substantial physical therapy.

Doctors have an obligation to perform procedures safely and effectively. While their jobs are far from simple, their years of training should give them experience with a lot of the complications that may arise in the course of their duties. Medical professionals are trained to be well aware of the dangers that failure to perform their jobs correctly can have on their patients as well as on their careers.

If your child has been injured by a physician's negligent use of forceps, contact a birth injury lawyer to learn more about how you can hold him or her accountable for making such a careless mistake. You may be able to seek compensation for any medical costs that may have arisen out of your doctor's erroneous actions.
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